If you have your Bibles, would you open them, please, toward the end of the book of First Peter? First Peter chapter number three. We’re going to just look at one verse, 1 Peter 3:12: “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers…” I want to focus on that little phrase, “His ears are open unto their prayers.” I want to speak this morning on this subject: “Getting on Praying Ground.”
We believe that God hears prayer, but sometimes we wonder, “Is He hearing my prayers?” And that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
Let’s pray. Father, bless now this time. Open our hearts and ears to this great, great truth. We don’t know how much we really need it. Help us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The first thing emergency workers focus on when there’s a major emergency is communication lines. They want to make sure somehow they’ve contacted the hurting person and they know we’re here, we’re trying to rescue you. When they did the famous Osama bin Laden raid, the Navy seal told in his book how that when the two helicopters flew off, communications were going between each seal — between the operator, between the base commander. Everyone was talking. There was communication. “Tell me what you see, tell me what’s going on there.” They had the video cam, all that communication.
Decades ago when I was a young adult, I remember a little girl named Jessica fell down into a well. They looked and looked for her. Finally, they said she’s at the bottom of this well. It made worldwide news. “Here’s another update. Right now, Jessica, she’s still alive. She’s alive. She may have broken some bones, but she’s still alive.” The first thing they did was lower down a communication line. They said, “Hey little girl, we’re trying to get you out. You’re not alone. You’re going to make it.” They established that communication line. Then they talked about how they tunneled all the way somehow to pull her out alive.
So, you say, “Pastor, what’s that got to do with me?” God wants to talk to you, and God wants you to talk to Him. It’s one of the greatest privileges a Christian has. We’re not talking about a famous person, some political person, some actress, some actor, some nationally known person who wants to call. You know, we’re talking about the God Who spoke and made the universe — He wants to know you, and He has time to listen to you know. You never get a busy signal. He never unfriends you. He never hangs up on you or changes His number on you. He really wants to know you.
We are created with the ability to communicate. You that have children — with a little baby, one of the first things you can’t wait to hear is that baby to get old enough to say, “I wuv you.” And you want to hear that. You just do. God makes us with vocal cards. He makes us be able to make sounds. Not only sounds, but He gives us a language. When He made Adam and Eve, the first two people, they knew how to speak. They had a language with vocal cards that allowed them to communicate. They had words that they could understand. They could understand words because God wants communication to be a two-way street. He speaks, we listen. We speak, He listens. What a great privilege! What a great privilege is this thing of prayer!
Sometimes, God spoke out loud. Sometimes, God spoke to the heart, Sometimes, He wrote things in the Bible. One thing the disciples asked Jesus when they got around Him for several years — they didn’t ask Him, “Teach us how to do miracles,” “Teach us how to multiply a lunch,” “Teach us how to walk on the water,” “Teach us, Jesus, how to raise the dead.” Here’s the one thing they asked: “Teach us to pray. We’ve heard You pray, Master, and that’s one thing we admire more than anything else. Would You teach us how to do that?”
It’s the key to all relationships. Communication. If you have marriage problems right now in this room, there is a communication problem. By the way, if you’re married, you got problems. Okay, I’m just going to try to notify you there. Let me say this: If you’re getting married, you’re about to have problems. Why? Because it’s two different people, two different worlds, two different ideas viewing things differently. Communication’s the key when you stop talking. Your problems don’t get better.
When you stop talking to Him, when you stopped listening to Him, your problems don’t get any better. He wants us to communicate.
Okay, let’s vote. How many of you know someone who, the only time you get a text from them or a phone call or they dropped by is when their hand is like this (open, waiting to receive something)? How many of you know someone like that? Come on. All right. Good. For how many of you, they’re in this room? I don’t know if you’re like me, but I hate to see them coming. It’s like, “Okay, what do they want now? How much is this going to cost me now? How come they couldn’t balance your checkbook? What’s going on? What trouble are they in?” And I think if we’re not careful, sometimes that’s that way we treat God. The only time He ever hears from us is in emergencies. Whenever talk to Him — maybe once a year — I need something. We cry out, “Where are you?” “Well, I’ve been here a whole year, and you didn’t talk to Me.” So, sometimes it is that way.
The word “pray” actually means “to ask.” The definition is to ask, but prayer shouldn’t always be asking. Sometimes, God just wants us to hang out. Tomorrow night we got that men’s fellowship. We’re probably not going to be talking about the Bible the whole time. Most guys won’t talk at all. It’ll be, “All right, you all just pray. Let’s eat.” It might just be eating, get back in the car, burp on the way home, and that’s it. But sometimes prayer ought to be us bragging on Him. “Hey, good job with the weather. I saw the clouds. Oh, they were awesome, God.” He likes us bragging on Him. He doesn’t mind if we’re thankful and we thank Him for things. He doesn’t mind if we just tell Him how great He is.
Hopewell Baptist Church is an Independent Baptist Church in Napa, California pastored by Mike Ray. It is Bible-based with a warm, friendly atmosphere. Hopewell is dedicated to bringing the water of life to the Napa Valley and beyond.